‘A revolutionary moment in painting’

Kathleen D´Oré

In this modern age it is very rare that one comes across something truly breathtaking in its originality.  In the field of image-making in particular, the cry so often seems to be: ´everything has been done´ ´ and so the multi-media conceptualists are handed their raison d´être on a plate.

When I was told that Kathleen D´Oré´s work was that very thing, the revolutionary moment in painting, I was quickly, perhaps even a touch smugly sceptical. But at the very first glance I realised there really was something to shout about.  D´Oré´s work is truly extraordinary, and in so many ways.

Firstly, there is the physical quality of the pieces.  D´Oré uses layer upon layer of poured resin, laid down one upon another, each time with subtle additions of differently coloured pigment.  They are built up in reverse, so that each successive layer increases the depth of the image away from the surface.  As a technical achievement they are already remarkable.

But then there is the visual impact of the ´paintings´. Each panel is illuminated by it´s own light box, and only then is the layered image brought to life.  They are staggeringly beautiful.  D´Oré pours and paints with mesmerising, fluid layers of translucent colour ´ intense reds will dominate in swathes and then be overwhelmed by sombre blues or verdant greens.  And always there are the textured drips and linear gestures of flowing pigment, energising the surface like tree rings or geological strata.

These organic and mineral allusions are not misleading.  D´Oré seems to depict all the Four Elements in a consistent body of work, frequently alluding to the natural world and all inspired by poetry.  Some are fiery and explosive; others suggest deep watery caverns or airy, celestial spaces.  D´Oré relates each painting to a specific poem, reciting them passionately from memory as she unveils each piece.  The Romantic poets such as Byron and Keats are a key source of inspiration; elsewhere Eliot or Milton have provided fuel for an image.

The results are if de Kooning were able to paint in three dimensions and with the unearthly intensity of a nuclear reaction.  They are extraordinary, beautiful, and original works of art.

Sam Chatterton Dickson

Sales Associate at Haunch of Venison